Monday’s Fair Haven Borough Council meeting was a workshop meeting.
In workshop meetings, things are what they sound like. The governing body “workshops” issues. They mull ideas and prospective solutions. We will say “mull” to go with the fall season, like spiced cider. And, just like that, things can get spicy at council meetings. But not on Monday. There was more humor going around on the dais.
Here are some nuggets of information gleaned from the meeting …
• So, the meeting kicked off with a proclamation for “Random Acts of Beauty.” This singled out people by the Fair Haven Garden Club, recognizing them for “making Fair Haven a beautiful place to be,” Mayor Joshua Halpern said.
Here’s the proclamation …
All were congratulated. Take a look around town and check out the winning sites.
• Halloween decorating champs from around the borough were named for this year’s contest.
The winners are:
• 1st Place: the Farrant residence, 83 Princeton Road
• 2nd Place: the Cole residence, 123 Grange Avenue
• 3rd Place: The Sztoser residence, 30 Grange Avenue
Well, in case you didn’t realize, it looks like Tracy Cole got two wins in the past week. Cole won her first bid for a three-year seat on borough council and it’s her house that won second place in the decorating contest. Neighbors and friends did the nominating, then the judging began among nominees.
Congrats to all!
A reminder about some events:
• The Fair Haven Fields Natural Area clean-up is this weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Organizer Carolyn Ferguson, of the Fair Haven Business Association, encouraged people to pitch in.
And she wins Quote of the Meeting with her plea:
Here’s the scoop on that …
• Council sanctioned lawn signs to get planted for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 27 and the Holiday Stroll on Dec. 10. That’s also when Santa comes to Memorial Park for pics, cocoa and pizza, or something like that. It’s happening again this year.
• A service for Veterans Day will go back to its usual in-person venue at Memorial Park on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.. It will also be live-streamed on Facebook, officials said. That was the only way to see it last year.
• Also on Nov. 11, the Columbus Club on Fair Haven Road will conduct its blood drive. This is the heads up to donate if you can.
• Councilwoman Betsy Koch announced that the next two zoning board meetings have been cancelled ” due to lack of agenda.
• That playground equipment is coming for the Community Center field. And so is demolition and construction to the center and police station with the new facilities project.
The proposal to purchase and install the new equipment will be on the next regular meeting agenda in an amount “not to exceed” $60,000. That was the recommendation by officials in discussion.
Once again, the prospect of getting those long-awaited new slides was discussed and it was agreed that the the equipment will be moved as far away from the Center’s construction area as possible. The notion of limiting cost by ordering separate pieces was also discussed again.
The issue, Borough Administrator Theresa Casagrande said, is one of safety concern. If the set, in its entirety, is too old, she said, there’s too much of a safety issue in taking it apart to replace one or two things. Once it’s past a certain age, she added, it’s more logical to just replace the entire unit. Moving forward, with the new units, there would be more leeway to safely replace pieces one at a time if they begin to falter.
• Raising the price of tree removal permits was also bandied about. In Fair Haven, the permit costs $25. In other towns, the cost is much higher, particularly in Manasquan, officials said, where the fee is $500.
Why so high? Officials figured it’s probably because of associated services, such as engineering and police presence that may be needed were there may be traffic involved.
Clear cutting for developers, officials said, should cost more. More trees are involved. Maybe a sliding scale permit fee according to, say, three or more, or fewer to be removed. But whatever the fee schedule, it cannot be different for developers versus residents, they said. Either way, “I think it should be raised,” the mayor said.
The general rule for police presence with cutting, Police Chief Joe McGovern said, is that “whenever it disrupts traffic, you have to have police presence.”
Others wondered if raising the fee would change residents’ minds about getting permits at all or trying to avoid them more. “A fee of $500 would,” an official joked.
• Bulk trash pick-up was discussed, too. The borough used to charge for bulk pick-up and it needed to be scheduled. Now, it is free and once a month from January through October. There is a $15 charge for appliances and their pick-up must be scheduled. There are rules.
What to do when there is no bulk pick-up? Charge? Or maybe people will just opt to “dump it in the river?” That was a joke by one of the councilmen just to point out that it should not be made too difficult or too expensive to get rid of bulk items or people may be tempted to dump illegally.
• People are peeved about leaf and brush pick ups, which are two separate efforts that cannot be mixed. Leaves are ending up on top of sticks and sticks on top of leaves for a variety of reasons, like weather, if either happens the pick-up doesn’t happen. Then the leaves and/or brush are in the street and a hazard. Co-mingling can’t happen, officials reiterated. But “when do we get this right?” a resident questioned.
It’s an age-old problem in Fair Haven. So are the landscapers who are supposed to be in sync with borough schedules and aren’t always. Some “landscapers are problematic, because they come when they come and put stuff out,” Casagrande said.
That can get dangerous, a resident said, especially in the event of storms and the damage wrought.
Forever Fair Havenite and regular at meetings, Ruth Blaser, had her say in the public portion.
She’s miffed about the state of Schwenker’s Pond, among other things. Second place for Quote of the Meeting goes to Blaser.
And that’s the news nugget scoop from the meeting room.